Moon Ji Bang installs a field of balloons outside a Seoul museum

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Moon Ji Bang installs a field of mushroom-shaped balloons outside a Seoul museum

Visitors to Korea's National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art can now frolic over and amongst a field of mushroom-shaped inflatables based on the landscape of a Korean fairy tale (+ slideshow).

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

Designed as a collaboration between Korean architects Choi Jangwon, Park Cheonkang, and Kwon Kyungmin, the temporary installation is the first Seoul edition of MoMA's Young Architects Program (YAP), an initiative that this year also saw pavilions built in New York, Istanbul, Rome and Santiago.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

The architects, who go under the collective name Moon Ji Bang, based their design on the ancient Asian myth of Shinseons – a kind of hermetic creature said to live on top of high mountains or above clouds.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

Named Shinseon Play, the installation is intended as a representation of this heavenly landscape, which "transcends the hustle-bustle of the human world of joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure".

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

"Our project is based on this myth that is still implicit among Koreans' collective unconsciousness nowadays," said the architects. "It focuses on staging this heavenly feeling in a way more akin to scenography or mise-en-scene."

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

Located outside the museum, the structure is made up of over 50 huge inflatables with narrow stems and bulbous tops. This shape gives them an appearance that could be compared to mushrooms, trees or clouds.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

"We intended a flexible image that can have numerous interpretations," said the Moon Ji Bang team.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

A series of flower beds are positioned at the base of the inflatables, while a wooden bridge winds up over the surface of the canopy. This allows visitors to experience the space from both above and below.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

"We wanted to celebrate in full force not only the shadow but also the light that a pavilion can give to a human being," said the architects, explaining how people can enjoy the sun on top or sit and read on the grass beneath.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

There are also trampolines positioned on opposite sides of the site, offering visitors a chance to enjoy both views in quick succession.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

"One can jump up punctuating the cloud and mist above, instantly coming up and down heaven and earth," added the team.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

Each balloon is supported by a hollow steel pipe that allows air to be gently pumped inside. The air pressure is programmed so that each one sways gently with the wind, or as people touch it.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP

Shinseon Play was installed outside the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in July and will remain in place until October. Other temporary structures created this year included a tower of "grown" bio-bricks at the MoMA PS1 gallery in New York and a pavilion of white steel frames in a Santiago park.

Photography is by Shin Kyung Sub.

Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP
Axonometric diagram – click for larger image
Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP
Site plan – click for larger image
Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP
Site section – click for larger image
Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP
Balloon types – click for larger image
Shinseon Play by Moon Ji Bang for YAP
Construction details – click for larger image